Thursday, October 1, 2020

Swan or Dragon


Though I mostly talk about my music here in my blog, I also really like to do artwork. In particular, I love do do collage. You have seen some of them here and picture above is my most recent and my favorite. 

What I like to do is color from various coloring books I have and collect my favorite images from them and paste them onto a canvas. In this case, the canvas above is from a discarded painting from a friend. As soon as I saw it,  I knew I wanted to have a Swan in this piece.   Yet while I was coloring the swan, I let myself choose whatever colors I felt led to (even if they are not colors found on a real swan). It ended up resembling more of a dragon. What do you think? Maybe part swan, part dragon? 

As for update about my music, I continue to do more virtual sessions and I really enjoy it. I had worried that the format would feel impersonal but if I were able to visit the nursing home residents, I would have to be socially distanced and wearing a mask. Whereas on our computer screens, we can be up close and personal. For some it would be like watching a personalized TV show created just for them. 

I am glad I can keep doing music at least on a minimal way during this pandemic. I hope you are all finding ways to nourish your creativity too. 

Thanks as always for stopping by! 

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Going Virtual

Hi everyone! Well, after 4.5 months off from my music work, I have finally joined the ranks of virtual service. I did my first virtual therapeutic music session on FaceTime today and it went really well! I was surprised with how easy and effective it was. 

I have missed the residents at the nursing homes where I have worked for many years. I did not pursue doing music virtually with the nursing homes because I did not think they would have the means to do it.  I have come to find out that many places will bring a tablet or cell phone in a resident's room and set it up for the patient. 

I was happy to see my friend A. today. I have worked with her about a year now. She is currently in hospice, so it is uncertain how much time we have left to share music. 

When the nurses aid called me and we hooked up to FaceTime, she said A. was very sleepy and was not sure she could stay awake. That is not a problem though because I believe that deep relaxation is a beneficial response to music. However, that is not what happened!  As soon as she heard my voice, her eyes lit up and she began to move to the music.  A. is non verbal but she shows her response to music in her eyes, facial expressions and body movements. It was such a joy to sing for her as it did me so much good too. It has been hard to feel like I could not do the work I feel I am meant to be doing. 
Today showed me there is no barrier now. With my iPad and guitar and voice, I can still reach them. 

So grateful!

I know if you are reading this, you have also experienced challenges and setbacks from this pandemic. It is my hope you have also experienced blessings in disguise and new beginnings. 
Here's to more new beginnings. :) 

P.S. That's my cat, Abilene in the picture in her first Zoom class this spring. Unfortunately, she passed away a few weeks ago. Sure miss her! 

Friday, June 12, 2020

Nurturing creativity

It has been a challenging time for all of us in these times of the pandemic, civic unrest, racial inequality, political polarities. I find that nurturing my creativity helps me to stay centered and lifts me up.

Last week I made a collage (pictured above). I chose the elements in the collage based on color, shape, lines and symbolism. I find nature to be so restorative, so you see a lot of flowers.  I was intrigued that there is just one tree and it is small and rather insignificant in this composition. To me that is a reflection that our society has come to devalue trees and nature. Next to the tree is a large fractured sunflower.  That symbolizes the disconnection we feel with our natural world.   The owl in this picture is watching from above.  It can see the whole picture and represents wisdom.

The fish in the corner with the colorful lotus represent  emotional overload and swimming underground to survive.

All of the elements in the photo were cut out from coloring pages I did. When is the last time you did some coloring? It is very relaxing and rewarding to do. In these times of stress, I feel any creative endeavor is so restorative.

I also wanted to tell you about another article that came out about my e-songbook, "Seven Songs of Solace." Thanks again to all those who contributed to this project, I was able to make a sizable donation to Doctors without Borders last week!

Here is the article and if you'd like to have a copy of, "Seven Songs of Solace," you can purchase by donating here:

Thank you for your support! Wishing you much peace and solace.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Therapeutic Musician releases songbook to lift spirits

Hello everyone!  The other day the Daily Progress did a story about the release of my songbook Seven Songs of Solace.  It is a fundraiser to benefit Doctors without Borders and Association of Adult Musicians with Hearing Loss (AAMHL) as well as me (having lost most of my income due to the pandemic crises). 

You can purchase a copy of my songbook at this link: 

Here is a link to the Daily Progress Article

If you cannot read this article because of subscription preferences, you can read the pdf of it here on google drive. 

You may hear the selections in the songbook at this link on SoundCloud.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Music gives voice where we have no words

Music has been the most constant thing in my life. We are living in very uncertain times and so many changes go on each day. Music has always been my best friend I turn to when I am at a loss for words.

Four years ago in late May, my dear mother passed away. It was probably the saddest time of my life. During this time of grieving, I began composing music on my guitar to expressed my feelings. The video below is the first of several pieces that came to me. I call it "Acceptance (for mom)" because I was aware that I went through many stages of grief.  I remember some years ago there was a theory of these 5 phases of grief: "Denial, Anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance." I got the idea to compose songs in each of these phases.   Below are Acceptance and Denial - in that order :)

When I thought of what denial would sound like, how I experience that is in a dance. Like a jig. At times when I am denying something, I am not feeling sadness or grief. In fact, I could feel something akin to happiness, even though it is denial. Are you following me? :)

So below you will hear two of the phases of grief of my mom's death. I found that composing music was what really helped me to come to accept her death and move forward.

"Acceptance (for mom)" is also available in sheet music for standard/tab notation in my new booklet (pdf) Seven Songs of Solace. It can be purchased by a donation (any amount) and partial proceeds will go to Doctors without Borders:


Here is the video of the songs and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Seven Songs of Solace

Dear Friends,

It has been said that in times past during pandemics, society relied on artists, poets and visionaries to give voice to the major transformation place.  Massive change happening at an accelerated rate left people without language to make sense of it all.  

After the 9/11 attacks, I read an article that asked people to tell what helped them heal form their loss, confusion and despair. All of them mentioned a song that gave voice to words they didn’t have. Others told about concerts that connected them with others and validated their experience.  It made me realize that music was more important than ever. It was this time that inspired me to become a Certified Music Practitioner which led to working at University of Virginia Hospital and several nursing homes playing therapeutic music for patients. 

In mid-March, my work as a therapeutic musician came to a halt when the Coronavirus stopped the world.  My greatest joy has been to bring comfort, hope, healing, and connection to others with music.  Suddenly, I was left without the option of being able to go into any of the places where I had become a part of so many people’s lives. 
Then an idea came to me for a way I could continue to put music out into the world.  “Seven Songs of Solace” was conceived for this purpose. I have really enjoyed working on this project. It is my hope that these songs provide you with hours of enjoyment hope and comfort. 

Thank you for supporting this musical project. Each month, I will donate 10% of the proceeds from the to a different organization working to help our front line workers in health care during this pandemic. You will find links to videos and sound files to hear the selections on my webpage listed below. 

You may purchase Seven Songs of Solace by a donation at the link below. 
(Pay as you may. Any amount appreciated!) 

You may hear the songs in the book at this link:

Saturday, April 4, 2020

A last visit for now

I've been working at a nursing home for 3 years in activities. Each Saturday, I go room to room singing with residents who are bed ridden or do not come out of their rooms. For the last 3 weeks, all of the residents have been instructed to stay in their rooms due to covoid 19 precautions.

Today, I made my last round of singing room to room until the pandemic subsides. It was a hard decision to step away but better to do so now and be safe

Today's musical visits were very touching to me.  I sat with Ms. C. for a long time and we sang many songs from her childhood camp and church songbook.  C. is someone who attends all activities and she's very social.  Being quarantined to her room has been hard on her. Today though, we escaped the feelings of sadness and isolation through sharing of songs.  We sang some of our favorites, 'We Shall Not Be Moved," "Keep on the Sunny Side," "Do Lord," "I'll Fly Away." She sang some of the songs I don't know for me, "Red, Red Robin, ""When the Roll is Called up Yonder." I always feel uplifted from being around her.  She endures her suffering (she is wheelchair bound and usually in a lot of pain) without complaint and always finds a way to have a positive outlook.

I also loved singing with Mr. M.   I know he loves old Motown and we sang, "My Girl" first. Lots of smiles and laughter with that song.  When I started to sing, "Stand By Me,"  Mr. M. sang along while wiping his tears away with a handkerchief. We then sang a few songs by Bill Withers, who just passed away. "Lean on Me" and "Ain't No Sunshine" were particularly poignant for the times.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed when I am there because there are so many of them and only one of me. Yet when we sing, the sadness melts away and they help me just as much as I hope to be helping them.

We're gonna get through this. We got this.